Sunday, April 2, 2017

The Fourth Conference for Dance Programs in Religious Public Schools

by Dr. Talya Perlstein 

Director of Dance and Movement Track in the College

On Monday, the 3rd of Shvat, 5777 (January 30, 2017) the fourth conference for dance programs in HEMED, the religious public school system, was held at the Elkana Campus. The day was a product of the longstanding partnership between the government’s Administration of Education for the Arts within religious schools and the academic track for dance and movement at Orot Israel College.
Approximately 350 students from dance programs across the entire country participated in the conference, hailing from the Golan, Jerusalem, Tiberias, Givat Washington, Gush Etzion, and other areas. The day’s program was divided into two parts; in the first part, eight lessons in assorted dance styles were simultaneously held at the College, the Elkana Matnas (Community Center), and the Shaare Tikva Matnas. In the second session, all the students and faculty convened in the College auditorium. The speakers included Prof. Yuval Sinai, President of the College; Dr. Nurit Ron, Director of the Division of Arts and Chief Supervisor of Dance in the Ministry of Education; Dr. Talya Perlstein, Director of Dance and Movement Track in Orot Israel College; Mrs. Revital Stern (Zivan), supervisor for Communication and Art studies in the religious public schools; and Mrs. Avital Horesh, national counselor for dance in the religious public schools. In addition, during this segment, groups of students performed dances which they had created in their respective programs, and they had the opportunity to watch a performance by the Angela troupe.
In the context of the conference, program coordinators and faculty from the ulpanot (religious girls’ high schools) participated in a meeting with Dr. Nurit Ron, Mrs. Revital Stern, and Dr. Talya Perlstein. Over the course of the discussion, the coordinators and teachers expressed enthusiasm for the organization and high-level content of the days’ programs, as well as the importance of building a professional community within HEMED.
The conference of school dance programs demonstrates part of HEMED’s educational vision, which values the student’s self-expression by means of the arts as a tool for growth and connecting to the sacred. It gives us great pride that the graduates of the dance program at Orot Israel College stand at the forefront of developing this field within HEMED, serving in a number of key capacities in its implementation: national counsel and guidance for dance in religious education; coordinating programs; and teaching dance in ulpanot and elementary schools.
The participants’ assessment of the conference’s contribution and significance found its expression in the form of a number of letters of thanks. To cite one, Revital Stern, supervisor for Communication and Art studies in the religious schools, wrote, “… This cooperation is so critical for the strengthening and development of the field of dance within religious education…. Since the track of training teachers in movement and dance in Orot College is unique, it is important for the graduates of dance programs in HEMED to see it as a hub for their professional development, with respect to both the artistry of the field and their training as teachers…. Thank you for all you have done for this connection thus far, and for all that will still be done, b’ezrat Hashem.”
In the words of Yael Duchnov, the coordinator of the Zvia school in Kochav Yaakov, “Thank you for opening the doors for masses of girls, who are both dreaming and fulfilling their dreams! There is no question that the successful establishment of new programs which allow professional dance alongside the observance of the values of Torah and Judaism begins with training appropriate teachers, teachers who cultivated with a spirit that allows and strengthens this development. Thank you for the journey that has been, that is, and that will continue….”
Tirtza Ben-Yitzchak, the Principal of the ulpana Haleli in Givat Washington, wrote, “Our students came back [from the conference] ‘in the lights (Orot)!’… It was both meaningful and very productive.”
Heartfelt thanks to the many participants whose pains assured the day’s success.
In the photo from right to left: Shira Shimon, Hadassa Geat, Tzipi Nir, Tirtza Ben-Yitzchak, Talia Sperling, Chana Shukrun, Sarah Orenstein, Rachel Baruch, Elisheva Rosewag, Sharon Kelner, Esther Poltinsky Perianto, Talya Perlstein, Nurit Ron, Shira Martin, Avital Horesh, Revital Stern (Zivan).
Below: Beracha Miriam, Shira Deutsch, Moriah Horowitz, Emunah Cohen, Chani Belsberg, Yael Duchnov.

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